Figures speak: Modi government failed MNREGA


Soon after taking over as prime minister, Narendra Modi, termed the rural employment guarantee scheme started by the UPA government, as the epitome of Congress failure. Apart from  the usual anti-Congressism, this statement by the prime minister unlined the NDA government’s attitude towards MNREGA- worlds largest rural jobs programme. The corresponding budgets, as economists would findout later, showed the fall in allotment for the programme in real terms.  In the time farm distress,  data shows the government totally failed to shore up rural employment by affirmative action.

Here are the figures

*  2015-16,  was the worst year ever in terms of assets created (2.27 million assets), a 23 percent decline from 2014-15.

* While 50 million households found work through MGNREGA last year, less than 10 percent of these households got 100 days of wage employment.

* Just about 40 percent of the workers get paid within the promised 15-day period.

* Women now hold half of all MGNREGA jobs, higher than the mandated 33 percent, indicating widespread demand for employment.

These findings are in line with IndiaSpend’s earlier analysis of MGNREGA.

MGNREGA guarantees 100 days of paid, unskilled manual work every year to every rural household.

Barely 50 million households have found work through MGNREGA and less than 10 percent of these households have been able to get 100 days of wage employment.

Just about 40 percent of the workers get paid within the promised 15 days. For unskilled MGNREGA workers, not getting paid in time is detrimental to domestic finances. Perhaps this will change with 210 million new Jan Dhan (People’s Wealth) accounts opened, into which the government can directly pay wages.

MGNREGA has brought parity in labour force participation, one of its few successes.

There has been a constant demand to increase the MGNREGA budget. The most money was spent last year, Rs.42,084 crore ($6.1 billion). In actual terms it was less than what is needed to give employment as envisaged by the government

Per person wage and cost has gone up steadily over the years. The average wage rate in 2015-16 was Rs.154 per day, a 27 percent increase from four years ago. Yet, the labour participation in MGNREGA has not grown, proven by the fact that only 2.3 billion person-days of labour were generated both in 2015-16 and 2012-13, despite a 27 percent wage increase.Why MGNREGA needs a rethink

After 10 years, it is clear that MGNREGA has not met most of its goals. And in the time unbridled liberalisation and farming crisis, the declining trend in implementing the scheme shows the government’s utter disdain towards rural crisis